UNESCO WHC/ICOMOS Mission
Experts of the international UNESCO WHC/ICOMOS mission Paul Drury (representative of ICOMOS – International Council of Monuments and Sites) and Burcu Ozdemir (representative of UNESCO World Heritage Centre) visited Vilnius in Nov 21-22, 2017. Task of their visit was to evaluate impact of new developments: the Missionaries Monastery with an adjacent site and the high-rise building “K18B” in Konstitucijos Av., on the Outstanding Universal Value of Vilnius historic city centre. Some recent development cases within the Old Town or in its buffer zone were introduced to the experts: the Bernardinai Garden, the Park of Architecture, Tymas and Kriviai quarters, the revitalisation of the territory of the Great Synagogue. Experts examined the development sites and attended meetings with experts and decision makers at the Ministry of Culture, Vilnius City Municipality, Vilnius Old Town Renewal Agency. Separate meetings were hold with ICOMOS National Commission and representatives of local communities. The experts expect to accomplish their recommendations by mid of January 2018.
Its particularly important to evaluate the impact of new developments to the unique and protected urban landscape and silhouettes as well as an architectural character of the historic city centre. Architects for the Missionaries’ Gardens complex conversion project are the winners of the public architectural contest same as the architects for the “K18B” that won the international tender. The right bank of Neris is an example of a successfully implemented vision, while the new “K18B” project is expected to fulfil the “urban hill” composition commenced in 70-ies.
During the meeting in Vilnius Old Town Renewal Agency Mr. Paul Drury spoke about challenges of reconstructions and new constructions in European historic centres and wide public debates or even protests occurred. He emphasized that the public cultural awareness and clear knowledge of contemporary professional means and methods applied in preservation and maintenance of UNESCO world heritage sites is crucial. Therefore the public awareness rising, local community information and consultation remains one of the most efficient tools ensuring relevant progress and coherence in this sphere. He resumed that reasonable, clear and publicly supported long-term vision of UNESCO WH site’s maintenance would help to develop more open and smooth dialogue with local communities and society in general.